Why did we chose SubmitHub ?

March 05, 2020

Why did we choose SubmitHub? It is a question that deserves an answer, of course.

First of all, what is SubmitHub?

The platform was created in 2015 by Jason Grishkoff, the owner of the "Indie Shuffle" blog.

5 years later, the platform which brings together more than 1000 blogs, media, labels, Youtube channels, Spotify playlisters ... from around the world.

Tired of receiving hundreds of poorly targeted emails from artists in his e-mail box, Jason had the idea of ​​creating SubmitHub, to connect artists with those outlets.

A musician (or a label) can therefore submit his music to a lot of media at the same time. There are two ways on the platform to submit music.

>A free way. But the blogger can decline the song after a few seconds of listening, without providing a comment. And the answer is not guaranteed.

> A paying way. The website allows the purchase of "credits", at the price of $6 for 5 credits.

And each media can ask to set its price: 1 credit ($0.50), 2 credits ($1) or 3 credits ($1.50).

However, only the administrators of SubmitHub have the power to grant or not this price change to the blogger (otherwise, it would be too easy, everyone would choose level 3, of course).

The paid submission has an advantage: the blogger has 48 hours to give you at least 10 words of feedback about your music, after listening to it for at least 20 seconds.

After 48 hours, if you didn't get an answer from the blogger, SubmitHub will refund your credit, and you can use it to submit again.

And there, we already see some musicians who do not know SubmitHub, howling with scandal...

What? Paying someone to listen to my music?

As a musician, you have probably already tried to send your music by e-mail to a media, or even several hundred media. What was your response rate? In general, the response rate is close to ... zero. Simply because your email did not contain all the information that a blogger needs.

I worked for 11 years on FM radios, and I can confirm that we received an email every 10 minutes to tell us "listen to my new single, go listen to my album, go see my music video" ... And even sometimes without a "hello", where emails filled with messy copy-and-paste saying "if your label accepts me ..." while we were a radio station!

When I had my online radio "Pop'N'rocK", as the name suggests, I played pop music and rock music. That didn't stop my mailbox from filling up with rap, hip-hop or R'n'B songs. So that's a targeting issue. This problem had to be solved, as much for the artists as for the media, because it was a real waste of time for both parties.

I'll be honest, as an internationally recognized blog now, at Indie Music Center, we now only have one email address, and it doesn't appear anywhere. It is reserved for us to connect to the different websites we use. If, by chance, an artist sent us a song on this mailbox, he won't get any answer. Why?

What does a blog like us need?

1. Time

First, we need time. Lots of time, to listen to songs, analyze them, sort them, write feedbacks, write an article like the one you are reading, create content, find attractive pictures, create visuals for our blog or for our Spotify playlists, manage our Spotify playlists, create videos for our Youtube channel, share our articles on social networks ... all these tasks take time. The article you are reading needed 3 hours.

For each article about an artist, we spend about 1 hour. As we also create an artist profile for them on the IMC + create for them a 20s video to promote their music on social media + add them to Spotify playlists + scheduled and sponsored posts on social media. So we are able to "supply", if I dare to say so, 1 item per hour. Until then, are you still following me ?

If we start browsing our old mailbox, which continues to receive around 100 to 120 messages per day (which we "trash" regularly so as not to reach saturation of the mailbox), we will quickly report on several shocking details. Sometimes we don't even know who sent the email. The artist? His manager? His label? Because, believe it or not, but very often, the emails are not even signed!

Then, we will quickly notice that the essential is missing so that we can write a column: the links of the artist's social networks, essential to direct our audience towards him, and sometimes the biography is missing. So we should be able to write about an artist we don't know anything about, and to whom we can't redirect our audience? We are not machines. So of course, we could search for these links and this bio by ourselves, thanks to Google. Except when the artist is called for example (invented example) Michael John, and Google brings out thousands of results, including about 90 musicians who are called the same. Which is the correct one? You now understand, why time is important, and can quickly become a blogger's nightmare? Such a research can take up to 15 minutes before identifying the right artist. And at this point, we didn't even start writing the article, of course, since we had nothing to do it!

Our job is blogger. It means content creator. We're not private investigator, dedicated to hunting for information.

2. The right information

Of course, we need a link to listen to the song, if it's not attached to the email, as an attachment. A working link. And too often, it is forgotten. How to find a song that hasn't been released yet, via Google? Impossible mission!

A biography helps us a lot to understand the artist's universe, his history, his experience, his journey. Could you write content about a stranger you don't know anything about?

Links to social networks and the artist's website are also essential, so that our readers can subscribe to the artist's profiles or newsletter.

3. The right targeting

As said before, a poorly targeted campaign is useless because it's definitely ineffective. Would you send your rap track to a rock blog? No?

Well, however, thousands of rappers do it to thousands of media every day. Fatal error. They will be completely ignored and will have lost time and energy.

4. Money. Well, yeah. Money.

Having a blog is not free of costs. If you are reading us, and want to start a music blog, evaluate the costs before.

> Ours is hosted by the Belgian platform Radio King. We chose them because we worked with them for years when we used to own several radio stations. And the simplicity of use and the final user experience perfectly suits us. But quality comes at a price. $44 per month. So, $528 euros per year.

> Added to the domain name, hosting for mailboxes ... around $80per year.

> It's not over. Today, to be visible on social media, and particularly Facebook / Instagram (it's the same house), you have to pay. If you don't pay, you're not visible. How can artists be promoted if they're not made visible? We therefore run PPC adds on social networks to promote artists. $400 per month. So, $4,8K per year.

> It's still not over. To create videos for our Youtube channel, we have a subscription to a video editing software. $25 per month. So, $300 per year.

> Equipment maintenance. Two computers, a tablet, a smartphone, so we can always see how an article is shown on different devices. IT equipment is not foolproof. We had to invest in a computer and a tablet in less than 6 months (just over $1,500). Components are changed regularly, such as hard drives. We use professional headphones ($200) to listen to the songs. As well as a BassMe, a personal subwoofer ($129). And in 1 or 2 years, we will have to start again, because the planned obsolescence is hitting very hard. Our material budget, now that we have been practicing for a few years, is now quantifiable: around $2000 per year.

Do we add up? ;) Minimum $7700 per year to run the blog.

Considering that each article brings us $1.50 from SubmitHub, considering that we can make 1 article per hour, we can therefore consider that we are paid on a basis of $1.50 an hour. So don't plan to become a millionair with a music blog. It must remain a passion, or a stepping stone to something else.

So what does SubmitHub bring us?

Everything! Technical means. The practical side. The money to run the blog.

1. Technical means and practicality

> It's true that, if we were only based on submissions received by email, we should constantly juggle between Youtube, Deezer, Spotify, Fanburst, Soundcloud ... SubmitHub integrates an audio player. We can therefore listen to all the songs at the same place, without moving to another tab or window. The queue allows us to listen to the songs one after the other.

> To manage a team. SubmitHub allows you to add collaborators to your blog.

> Search bars, very convenient for finding our artists.

> The ability to sort through songs. Accepted. Declined. Saved for later. We can add notes on it. Share to someone within the team. Again, everything is doable in one place.

> The integrated chat to chat with the artists. A golden tool.

> The huge database that SubmitHub puts at our disposal. Need to contact an artist? Go to the chat. Need to find the songs he had already sent previously, and listen to them again? It's possible. Finding a bio? It's possible. Finding all the links, social networks and website? it's possible.

> The right targeting. We have checked the musical genres that interest us. And overall, artists make very little mistake when they check the genre to which their song belongs.

2. Money

SubmitHub offers us the possibility to finance all the costs that you saw in the previous point. If the website pays us more than we need, then we use this money primarily to increase our advertising budget on social media, to promote our artists, as well as our blog. It's a win-win. Especially for our artists, to tell the truth!

Different points of view

Some professionals in the music industry don't really agree with the SubmitHub's concept. Some of them really go too far when they say that platforms like SubmitHub take artists' money for wind, and for not having a concrete feedback on their music. We agree that the minimum of 10 words required for feedback seems a little too low... With us, it's a 100 words minimum... We can't explain to an artist why we declined his song in 10 words. The artist worked a lot before, on writing, composing, recording, mixing, mastering, sometimes on the music video, and we must respect this work.

And this is probably the problem that creates in some people a kind of frustration feeling. Because some blogs have found in SubmitHub a quick way to make money, without actually doing real blogging. They listen to 20 seconds of the song, they don't like it, they say "it was good but I didn't like the melody more than that, sorry". Well done. The contract is fulfilled in terms of number of words. But for the artist, it is clearly shameful. And it shows on blog ratings. Because yes, the submitters can rate the bloggers. For example, about their feedback quality. It's not for nothing that we have oscillated between 1st and 3rd place in the world since a few months in terms of quality. Because a blogger gives his time. And I admit that if some people take 20 seconds to put 10 words, and take 1 dollar in passing, it is clearly theft.

More recently, Jason implemented the "Really Good Bloggers" program on SubmitHub. It consists of offering a small financial bonus to blogs that do real blogging (who share in less than 15 days after approval, who write a real article and not just copy and paste the artist's bio and who do at least 80% of blog posts). It is encouraging for the real bloggers that we are, but it is not enough to stem the epidemic of so-called bloggers who know nothing about music, and skip their listening sessions by providing the artists with shitty feedback.

Our point of view

SubmitHub has all the assets we were looking for. When we talk about it in France, between music professionals, we even call it "a social media". The platform has serious advantages. It is profitable financially, and allows real bloggers like us to cover their needs. The site provides us with the artists and the money that keeps us alive. If SubmitHub recruited more, such as moderators who would monitor the feedback that some blogs write, or their length of listening time, and ban those who take advantage of the system, then SubmitHub would become a paradise.

Having exchanged with Jason several times, we have seen that he has enormous human qualities. He is very attentive, opened to suggestions for improvement, and easily reachable. We always had an answer in a few minutes to each of our questions. And the most important point : he is nice. But maybe too much. Because real bloggers suffer from the bad reputation that false bloggers give of the job. These false bloggers are the majority on the platform. And so the reputation of SubmitHub suffers. A little more severity would not hurt. A real selection of bloggers, with a real follow-up on their work would be welcome. And why not a section to highlight the best bloggers.

Are there other platforms of this kind ?

Yes. Of course. We tested 4 others.

> First of all, DropTrack. We used it for over a year. A real disaster. We can chose pop, rock, and folk music genres, and we receive rap and hip-hop all day long. Honestly, we rarely use it now. Because DropTrack has a big problem: it reveals our email address as soon as we make a written feedback to the artist, and we get invaded by spam. Not very encouraging. We can listen to the tracks through embedded players but too small (especially Soundcloud) where you can not progress in the song to listen to a particular part. The technical support is not reactive. 15 days to get an awful answer like "what was your question, actually?" In short. We gave up.

> HumanHuman is not too bad. We use it in addition to SubmitHub. The songs received are rarer, around 3 to 4 per week. But we have 10 days to answer to each submission, which is better than 48 hours. Much less pressure. The goal is to answer 2, 3 or 4 questions asked by the artist, like "What do you think of my music?", Or "What advice would you give me to improve", or "Would you share my music?". There is no minimum words required in terms of comments, but we can have fun by detailing a little bit more. The price is set by the blog. The platform is pretty good, but very far from the practical side of SubmitHub. No possibility to chat with artists. Despite its name, it's sorely lacking in talking functionality, like a built-in chat. Too bad, because the potential is there. However, after having communicated with them by email, we can tell that they are very friendly and very responsive. We made great discoveries there. We continue to use it, for the moment, waiting for some improvement.

> Groover, who's French. Very good assets for this platform which is the only one to require a professional status to be able to cash out money. A good point, which allows you to sort through bloggers. We mostly receive French content. Which is good news for us, because if we can promote Made In France artists, it's cool. The quality of production is however rarely there, and targeting does not work. We receive songs in musical genres that don't suit us, despite the filters we applied. And the possibilities of contact with the artist are almost nonexistent. Except when you decide whether to approve the song or not. But once it's done, no more contact. Hum. Sometimes, you have some contacts. By email, because the website has leaked our email address, and we still find ourselves spammed and subscribed to newsletters we didn't want to receive. Pity. Here, too, there is great potential to develop by improving a few points. But Dorian, one of the owners, is very reachable by email, and very professional. I'm pretty sure that Groover will make its way, by improving a few things, and can establish itself as a leader in France.

> Bitsubmit. A big joke. We signed up 2 months ago. We still can't use it. We have a message in English that says "Your account has not been activated yet. We manually review each application , so please allow us 5 working days". And we've had this message for 2 months now. Not serious.

In conclusion

SubmitHub is more than a working tool or a partner. It's a part of our daily life. Without SubmitHub, we would not be able to provide that much quality music content. We are very selective because we only accept songs with strong emotional power and which give chills. But we find there what we're looking for. Maybe one song every 30 or 40, but that's enough for us. The question of the reputation of bloggers is important and we hope that Jason will set up a system to sort through bloggers. I know that he is full of ideas, and that he is a very good web developer. The platform can therefore only evolve in the right direction.